Gender Government History Personal Essays Politics Women

The Ginsburg Vacancy

I wrote this with my friend and author, Kathy Aspden. If you haven’t read her books, have a look. She is a great writer.

By Kathy Aspden & Christine Merser

In a speech in August 2016 in Kentucky, McConnell would say: “One of my proudest moments was when I looked Barack Obama in the eye and I said, Mr. President, you will not fill the Supreme Court vacancy.”

Thirty-two Republicans put out positive statements in 2016 to support Merrick Garland’s nomination.

When McConnell stamped the it’s not happening on it all, Democrats came out full force— with words. Schumer called it a travesty, and others said the sitting president should fill the empty seat. But as in most things, Democrats had no tool in the tool box to change what Mitch chose to do. So many words, so many referenceable quotes from 2016.

Mitch broke the law. Or if you are generous and sit on the outside of liberal views, he ignored his responsibility to run hearings and put the process in place—which is his fiduciary obligation as majority leader. And so here we are, four years later, and McConnell is saying the court seat will be filled by this sitting president. Everything he said last time no longer fits into his agenda. Yet, he has no shame, no qualms, no fear in reversing what was a bad decision then.

So now, all the Dems will reverse what they said four years ago, and the Republicans will follow the pied piper of corruption and change their tone as well. Lindsay Graham is interesting. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, he actually brought up this scenario in 2018 during a forum with The Atlantic, and said, “I’ll tell you this – this may make you feel better, but I really don’t care – if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait until the next election.” All lies.

But this is not the time to call our people to the streets. This election will be decided by those who are already hesitating to put their toe in our waters—fearing it might look okay, but perhaps it’s boiling after all. Law and order, as an issue, is not working well for Trump, and a full-out protest will give legs and fuel the fire. And, then there is the hypocrisy of every Democrat from 2016 changing their stand when it suits them in 2020. Do we sink to the basement level that the Republicans have renovated as the penthouse? No we do not! Not on our watch.

Let’s do this with intelligence and integrity. Let them nominate some half-qualified person. Fight it on the stage during the hearings, smartly. Ted Cruz (one of the Trump short-listers) as a Supreme? Make our day.

If we do this well, we will win this election—which takes precedence over everything else right now. Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s death could surely give Trump what he needs to change the course of a conversation that’s currently not working for him. Let’s kick the legs out from under his potential unrighteous fury.

Oh and later, when the senate is won and the presidency has a reasonable, capable, semi-honest working body (which we’ve come to realize is the best we can hope for in government), we can up the Supreme Court seats to eleven and wave at Mitch McConnell across the aisle.

Government History Politics

Stoicism in the Time of the CoronaVirus

Yesterday was a rough day for me. Not sure why. In general, this solitary-type of life is not something I find anxiety provoking, but I think that it was about reading three articles in a row that did me in. I now believe that it’s not just Trump that is breaking things, that the divide between the rich and the poor is now irreversibly cemented for a future of being relegated to where you were born and lastly, that the virus itself is taking a toll on those in the medical field that is heartbreaking. And, and, and.

Then I came across an article in The Guardian by Donald Robertsonimages that I have to read a few more times to know how it can replant my mental positivity, but I know it has something that can… Who knew Marcus Aurelius could help me through my funk? And the really good news is that I have The Meditations in my library! I think I bought it last year when I was pretending that I was going to be a smart girl.

Here is the article…

Stoicism in a time of pandemic: how Marcus Aurelius can help

The Meditations, by a Roman emperor who died in a plague named after him, has much to say about how to face fear, pain, anxiety and loss

The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was the last famous Stoic philosopher of antiquity. During the last 14 years of his life he faced one of the worst plagues in European history. The Antonine Plague, named after him, was probably caused by a strain of the smallpox virus. It’s estimated to have killed up to 5 million people, possibly including Marcus himself.

From AD166 to around AD180, repeated outbreaks occurred throughout the known world. Roman historians describe the legions being devastated, and entire towns and villages being depopulated and going to ruin. Rome itself was particularly badly affected, carts leaving the city each day piled high with dead bodies.

In the middle of this plague, Marcus wrote a book, known as The Meditations, which records the moral and psychological advice he gave himself at this time. He frequently applies Stoic philosophy to the challenges of coping with pain, illness, anxiety and loss. It’s no stretch of the imagination to view The Meditations as a manual for developing precisely the mental resilience skills required to cope with a pandemic.

First of all, because Stoics believe that our true good resides in our own character and actions, they would frequently remind themselves to distinguish between what’s “up to us” and what isn’t. Modern Stoics tend to call this “the dichotomy of control” and many people find this distinction alone helpful in alleviating stress. What happens to me is never directly under my control, never completely up to me, but my own thoughts and actions are – at least the voluntary ones. The pandemic isn’t really under my control but the way I behave in response to it is.

Much, if not all, of our thinking is also up to us. Hence, “It’s not events that upset us but rather our opinions about them.” More specifically, our judgment that something is really bad, awful or even catastrophic, causes our distress.

This is one of the basic psychological principles of Stoicism. It’s also the basic premise of modern cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the leading evidence-based form of psychotherapy. The pioneers of CBT, Albert Ellis and Aaron T Beck, both describe Stoicism as the philosophical inspiration for their approach. It’s not the virus that makes us afraid but rather our opinions about it. Nor is it the inconsiderate actions of others, those ignoring social distancing recommendations, that make us angry so much as our opinions about them.

Many people are struck, on reading The Meditations, by the fact that it opens with a chapter in which Marcus lists the qualities he most admires in other individuals, about 17 friends, members of his family and teachers. This is an extended example of one of the central practices of Stoicism.

Marcus likes to ask himself, “What virtue has nature given me to deal with this situation?” That naturally leads to the question: “How do other people cope with similar challenges?” Stoics reflect on character strengths such as wisdom, patience and self-discipline, which potentially make them more resilient in the face of adversity. They try to exemplify these virtues and bring them to bear on the challenges they face in daily life, during a crisis like the pandemic. They learn from how other people cope. Even historical figures or fictional characters can serve as role models.

With all of this in mind, it’s easier to understand another common slogan of Stoicism: fear does us more harm than the things of which we’re afraid. This applies to unhealthy emotions in general, which the Stoics term “passions” – from pathos, the source of our word “pathological”. It’s true, first of all, in a superficial sense. Even if you have a 99% chance, or more, of surviving the pandemic, worry and anxiety may be ruining your life and driving you crazy. In extreme cases some people may even take their own lives.

In that respect, it’s easy to see how fear can do us more harm than the things of which we’re afraid because it can impinge on our physical health and quality of life. However, this saying also has a deeper meaning for Stoics. The virus can only harm your body – the worst it can do is kill you. However, fear penetrates into the moral core of our being. It can destroy your humanity if you let it. For the Stoics that’s a fate worse than death.

Finally, during a pandemic, you may have to confront the risk, the possibility, of your own death. Since the day you were born, that’s always been on the cards. Most of us find it easier to bury our heads in the sand. Avoidance is the No1 most popular coping strategy in the world. We live in denial of the self-evident fact that we all die eventually. The Stoics believed that when we’re confronted with our own mortality, and grasp its implications, that can change our perspective on life quite dramatically. Any one of us could die at any moment. Life doesn’t go on forever.

We’re told this was what Marcus was thinking about on his deathbed. According to one historian, his circle of friends were distraught. Marcus calmly asked why they were weeping for him when, in fact, they should accept both sickness and death as inevitable, part of nature and the common lot of mankind. He returns to this theme many times throughout The Meditations.

“All that comes to pass”, he tells himself, even illness and death, should be as “familiar as the rose in spring and the fruit in autumn”. Marcus Aurelius, through decades of training in Stoicism, in other words, had taught himself to face death with the steady calm of someone who has done so countless times already in the past.

Donald Robertson is cognitive behavioural therapist and the author of several books on philosophy and psychotherapy, including Stoicism and the Art of Happiness and How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius

Books Government History Politics

Anne Frank and The CaronaVirus

lebo-room3-06012017-e1496928208671-1024x640When my daughter, about whom I am not allowed to blog, was in the eighth grade, she played Anne Frank at the Nightingale-Bamford School. Her father and I, already divorced for years, went together to opening night. I knew it would be especially poignant for him. He’d escaped the Nazis in Paris during the start of WWII. I wished his mother, who was a mentor of mine and a strong woman who lived in a time that didn’t nurture that, could have been there.

We were mesmerized. I had never seen the play but had devoured the book. At the end, all the lights went out, and our daughter’s voice penetrated the darkness with the following lines:

“It’s difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals; they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

He wept openly, and I sobbed. It became a memory from our parenthood that didn’t fade with time.

A friend of mine was recently complaining about having to stay inside and going stir crazy as a result. I texted her, “I have two words: Anne Frank.” I didn’t hear from her again for a while.

Sure, this is like Anne Frank’s situation. Only not.

If Anne Frank were to be found by the Nazi “virus,” it was certain curtains — not just 2% certain.

Anne Frank had no communication with anyone other than the people who were smothering her space, and she wasn’t all that fond of most of them. Eight people. Two years. Try to imagine that.

Anne Frank couldn’t move from six o’clock in the morning until six o’clock at night — every day for two years. No earbuds. No TV. Just a few books and her thoughts, which still move me. I am grateful she wrote them down.

Anne Frank couldn’t flush the toilet. Ever.

Anne Frank didn’t have enough to eat, let alone 642 rolls of toilet paper stashed away in the basement.

Anne Frank wrote a few hundred pages in her journal. Very few of them contained complaints. And when she did complain, she expressed regret for doing so.

Here is the 411: We have to stay inside to save others’ lives, not just our own. When you break the rules because you just can’t stand it anymore, the chance that you will need to be taken care of by the health-care workers rises exponentially. Anne spent much of her time worrying about Miep Gies, the woman who was risking her life to keep Anne and her family alive. We have Mieps. The doctors and hospital workers and store workers. We need to do right by them now.

Here are some of Anne’s quotes that move me on this sunny morning in the Hamptons where I am safe and able to walk outside and see the budding spring:

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” 

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

Thank you Anne Frank. We will do better.

Government History Politics Women

Margaret Chase Smith: Saving the Republic from the Senate Floor

Margaret Chase Smith. You might never have heard her name, but it’s certainly not because she doesn’t deserve to have you do so. She was the first woman voted in as a senator who wasn’t an appointment or a widow filling her husband’s seat. But it’s not that for which we should resurrect her now. It’s because she was a Republican from Maine. Republicans from Maine are known to be individualistic in their approach to all things — or, at least, they were until Susan Collins began to furrow her brow with concern and then do exactly as she is told by Trump and his enablers.
It was June 1, 1950, and Margaret was a freshman senator. She kept waiting for those who were more senior than she to stand up to Senator McCarthy, and when they didn’t, she decided she needed to do so herself. She titled her speech “Declaration of Conscience.” She presented it on the Senate floor, and it was signed by six other Republican senators.

Following is the Senate website’s description of what happened:

Four months earlier, McCarthy had rocketed to national attention. In a well-publicized speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, he claimed to possess the names of 205 card-carrying communists in the State Department. Smith, like many of her colleagues, shared McCarthy’s concerns about communist subversion, but she grew skeptical when he repeatedly ignored her requests for evidence to back-up his accusations. “It was then,” she recalled, “that I began to wonder about the validity… and fairness of Joseph McCarthy’s charges.”

At first, Smith hesitated to speak. “I was a freshman Senator,” she explained, “and in those days, freshman Senators were to be seen and not heard.” She hoped a senior member would take the lead. “This great psychological fear…spread to the Senate,” she noted, “where a considerable amount of mental paralysis and muteness set in for fear of offending McCarthy.” As the weeks passed, Smith grew increasingly angry with McCarthy’s attacks and his defamation of individuals she considered above suspicion. Bowing to Senate rules on comity, Smith chose not to attack McCarthy, but to denounce the tactics that were becoming known as “McCarthyism.”

“Mr. President,” she began, “I would like to speak briefly and simply about a serious national condition…. The United States Senate has long enjoyed worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative body…. But recently that deliberative character has…been debased to…a forum of hate and character assassination.” In her 15-minute address, delivered as McCarthy looked on, Smith endorsed every American’s right to criticize, to protest, and to hold unpopular beliefs. “Freedom of speech is not what it used to be in America,” she complained. “It has been so abused by some that it is not exercised by others.” She asked her fellow Republicans not to ride to political victory on the “Four Horsemen of Calumny–Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry, and Smear.” As she concluded, Smith introduced a statement signed by herself and six other Republican senators–her “Declaration of Conscience.”

I am so proud to be a woman these days. So proud. And, I ask now, what woman Republican will present her own declaration of conscience in the coming days? Which of you will set aside your personal job security to do the right thing? Will it be you, Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee? You, Susan Collins from Maine? You, Shelley Moore Capito from West Virginia? Joni Ernst from Iowa, how about you? Deb Fischer from my alma mater, Nebraska? Cindy Hyde-Smith from Mississippi? Martha McSally from Arizona (unlikely)? Or Lisa Murkowski (I’m betting on you, girlfriend)? Who among you will join Margaret Chase Smith — who helped save the republic from sure ruin 70 years ago — as a woman for the ages? It’s a generation later, and it’s on you.

Here is a video of a young lady presenting Margaret’s speech. Take the two minutes to watch it. It will ring so very true for this moment in time.

History Politics Women

Joe Biden & Anita Hill Hearings: Deal Breaker

download-1“Are you crazy?” I asked. “Do you know what he did during the Anita Hill hearings when he was in charge? Head. Of. The. Judiciary. Committee. Running. The Hearing. He was the guy. He was the one who seven women, in addition to Anita, petitioned to speak, as they’d had the same experience as she did. Corroborating evidence he chose to ignore. He turned them down! Have you seen the hearing tapes of how he spoke to her? Are you fucking nuts?!”

“Simmer down. I hadn’t thought about that. And, anyway, he has grown since then.”

I, of course, am the woman who remembers those hearings like they were yesterday. They were what made me a feminist. They were the first time I realized that men ran the country, and without any grace around the fact that they were representing more than their own interests. Then a few months later, the Anita Hill documentary came out, and Biden was front and center with his pants down, so to speak, and his own bias staring you in the face. Watch It.

So, Biden spoke on the issue recently. Let’s review the paragraph that makes my blood boil:

“She faced a committee that didn’t fully understand what the hell this was all about. To this day, I regret I couldn’t give her the kind of hearing she deserved,” he said at an event in New York City honoring students who helped fight sexual violence on college campuses. “I wish I could have done something.”

You. Were. In. Charge.

She. Faced. Your. Committee.

Let me help you help yourself: here is what you should have said. “The Anita Hill hearings are the worst moment of mine in the senate. I should have allowed those other women to speak. I should have demanded that my colleagues treated her with respect. I should have treated her, and all the women she represented, with more respect. I should have spoken for her in my comments. I was an ass. I hope you will see that I have grown and am not that go-along-with-the-crowd man I clearly was back then. I apologize to all Americans for my behavior. I wish I could go back.”

Then you should have spoken up more during the Kavanaugh hearings. You should have gotten on the pulpit that your years and years of history with us as a leader of this country have given you, and you should have said how it should be done.

You will never have my vote. Unless, of course, it’s you or the orange guy, and then I will have no choice.

History Politics Theater Women

Gloria: A Life Review

My friend Chris and I went to see Gloria: A Life, the Gloria Steinem one-woman show. The play is closing in New York City at the end of this month, but it will be traveling to other parts of the country that Gloria changed during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have met Gloria at dinner parties in the Hamptons, where I found her to be soft-spoken and not bra-burning at all. And, while I’m 66 and should have had her as the fabric of my life as an influencer, I spent the better part of the ’70s at the University of Nebraska, where Nixon’s resignation was on page two. I’m sort of not exaggerating. So, she wasn’t on my ‘friends’ list.

Gloria: A Life takes us through the trajectory of not only Gloria’s personal journey through her journalism career, harassment, and enlightenment to the plight of women and the opportunity to change the outcome for the next generations, but also the sisterhood of the women of color, who really started it all and embraced her as their token white woman. Who knew? History unfolds before us — not the “war to war” history that men have always injected into our education, but rather cultural history and women’s history … and it’s Glori-ous! I thank her and those less well known for their commitment.

Abortion and women’s rights over their own body take on a predominant role in the unfolding of the journey we are still navigating. The play’s actors pointed out that each of us in the room had our own experience around “Glorias.” This was true for most of us in attendance, as the majority of the audience members were women, and more than half were over, let’s say, 50.

During my days at the University of Nebraska, I dined each night with my sorority sisters in the Pi Phi dining room. Every now and then, a hat was passed, and everyone put in whatever money she could spare. No one knew whom it was for, but abortion was only available in New York City in the early ’70s, and the hat’s bounty would pay for the flight for one of our “sisters” to fly there and have the procedure performed. By herself. Alone. Because that was all that was available to us. I put in whatever I could with pride and commitment to her right to choose. I can honestly say that in the three years I called that sorority house “home,” I don’t recall anyone having left school to have a baby (which women would have had to do back then), but I do remember a number of “pass the hat” moments. Yes, we all have our own experiences of that time in history, and my only regret is that it wouldn’t be for years that I would join the movement to commit to my own gender’s growth and equality.

I never subscribed to Ms. magazine. Never read it. Thought burning a bra was silly (and still do). But I also didn’t realize what the play so gently but powerfully lays out: how male dominance over our lives and our views of ourselves has been nurtured since birth. And I didn’t have a prayer of knowing how to silence that as I charted my own course. A man close to me said to me on the phone yesterday, “You have no trouble speaking truth to power.” That may be true now, but throughout most of my adult life, I was clueless as to what that truth was. Gloria and her gang of girls helped each other out of the darkness of their indoctrination. And being present in the play helped me see how I gained clarity as well.

IMG_4395For me, one of the best parts of the night was a group of six young girls, maybe 8 or 9 years old, who were sitting across from me in the top row. They loved the play. They hung on every word, and when two of them spoke in the ‘chat with the audience’ afterward, they were articulate and cool, but more importantly, excited about the future they could fashion. One of them said of another: “She’s the president of our group; I’m like the vice president.” This was cause for some concern, because one of the moments of clarity in the play was when the light bulb went on that we women need to participate with equal input in roundtable discussions. This stands in stark contrast to the pyramid paradigm established by men, in which a king sits at the top of those who are climbing over one another to get to his position. Like a board room table that always has a seat of power. Not all men. And especially not those in the audience. One man’s daughter told us her father had asked her to see the play with him.

Thank you, Gloria, for all that you’ve done. Thank you to the girls in the top row for all you will do. It was nice, in this moment of our history when I have little hope, to leave feeling like maybe there is hope, after all. Women are the answer. How cool is that?

Fashion Government History Politics Women

Women In Congress Wearing White to SOTUS

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 2.59.27 PMWe sell visually in today’s world. How one presents a product or service is all about how another (your potential client) feels when looking at it. I’m a strategist and like to always consider the view from the other side of the railroad tracks when putting together an image or a video or any message. It’s why I was disappointed in the women of Congress, who all showed up in their white suits and jackets to signify the unity of women by wearing the uniform the suffragettes wore when marching to secure the vote. Yes, I am aware it’s the 100th anniversary. I think it is a mistake to present themselves as a “united front of women” in a chamber that is supposed to represent all Americans. I think it divides, rather than unites. I think it misses the point and diverts from the conversation, which is and should always be, “What does our country need to serve the American people?”

Leave gender at home, ladies. It has no place in the chamber. And, yes, I know that we have never had real representation in government, and that we clearly made progress in this last election. You want to continue to make progress? Then stand together as Americans in politics. Ask people to vote for the right person, and when those people are elected to government, let them show up in the chamber wearing appropriate attire that makes what they wear the adjective, not the noun.

In speaking with a friend this morning, who pointed out that the congresswomen were simply acknowledging the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote, my answer is, “Celebrate it by working your asses off to stop gerrymandering and attacks by those who would prefer that people of color and the economically disadvantaged not vote. Fix that, and then wear a solid color to the chambers celebrating that. We are taking steps backward in people having the access and ability to vote. The women’s right to vote is so yesterday.”

How would I feel if I were a man who voted for those women? Would I feel they were a reflection of me and a window into that which I aspire to be? Giving the president a standing ovation when he mentioned them sitting there in a sea of white was demeaning to themselves. They are people elected to congress, not women elected to congress.

I know. I feel the onslaught coming. We have waited so long. Of course our female gender will enter into our decision-making. And so will our religious beliefs, the economic circumstances in which we grew up, and our college experience. That doesn’t mean we wear our cross front and center, or the McDonald’s uniform that we wore working our way through college, or our university-logo sweatshirt. We show up in chambers ready to do the work of the people. Ready to listen carefully to the president’s words and mark them in our memory to ensure we can follow up when he doesn’t.

If we—as women, as people, as Americans, as humans—want to succeed in bringing the country together to build great tomorrows, then leave things like wearing matching white outfits to other people.

Government History

The American of Old

Screen Shot 2018-05-31 at 7.40.33 AMI was on the phone with my BFF, from Alliance, Nebraska, talking about conversations with aging parents. She said she loved the stories her mom told her about her father. Lorie’s mom is 97, and her father would be 120 if he were he alive today.

“Tell me one,” I said.

“My mom told me that her dad, who had come over from Lebanon to Nebraska, was a laborer and so proud to have found his way to America. Every Labor Day, he bought a new pair of overalls and proudly marched in the parade down Main Street. He was proud to have found gainful employment in this opportunity-filled country.”

I was silent. The mental image brought me to my knees.

There was a time in America when being a laborer was a proud profession, when it wasn’t about the compensation package as much as the pride in ownership of doing your job well. And compensation for a laborer meant opportunity for your children, weekends with your family, and enough money to live a decent life and enjoy a lovely retirement. You could go to the doctor; you had insurance that would cover it. You could have the local paper delivered, participate in community activities, and put something in the collection box at church.

Where did we go wrong? Was it when Reagan all but removed the restrictions on corporations so they could send the middle class packing and hire people to whom they had no real commitment? Was it when many people became so rich that they could buy the politicians and ensure the votes in Congress had nothing to do with growing a country of fabulous Americans, and everything to do with donor enrichment?

I’m going to think about my BFF’s grandfather marching down Alliance’s Main Street often, and recognize that the damage done in the last years can … and must … be reversed. I love my country and the bones from which it was made.

History Politics Women

Considering Hillary

A note to women in their twenties and thirties.

imgresHillary. I am not a fan. Never have been. But truth be told, I don’t have to be a fan to vote for someone. I have to believe that they are capable of doing the job … and doing it better than the next ‘guy.’

I have spoken with a lot of young women in their late twenties and early thirties and they are not for Hillary Clinton. They ‘don’t like her.’ Her way of handling Bill’s infidelity. Her tone of voice. Her coldness. And so it goes. The polls say this generation of women just doesn’t find her appealing.

A friend sent me the documentary, Makers Once and for All, about the the Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1994 when Hillary gave the keynote – and she took a major risk, and she changed the course for women across the globe with it. You young women were not around for those moments. That moment with Hillary. Anita Hill. The first woman voted into the senate.

I’m asking you, begging you actually, to watch from 28:29 on the documentary for just five short minutes to understand that while you might not find her personally to your liking, her overall contribution to society over the past forty years might, just might, deserve your voting consideration.

History Movies & TV Women

Anita Hill Documentary

imgres1991. Anita Hill.

I lived in New York City and had just started The Women’s Resource Center when Anita Hill came out of the closet and spoke what she said was her truth. I watched a Berlin Wall of white men strangle her with ridiculous, repetitive questions on TV for what I think was two straight days. She barely reacted. She just kept answering the same questions over and over again in the same way. They didn’t make a dent in her, but as it turns out, they didn’t need to. Preventing Clarence Thomas from being appointed to the Supreme Court was not the point of what they were doing. It was supposed to be the point but it wasn’t. I’m not sure what the point was, and Anita brings that home. It was a required exercise in futility, with Democrats and Republicans both doing the same thing. Anita was put on trial, and it was a hung jury. Maybe she was lying. Maybe she wasn’t. But no one on that Senate committee was her advocate, and it is really interesting that none of them paid for that mistake with us female voters.

At that time no one knew what to do with what Anita was saying. Sexual Harassment? Mumble. Bumble.

I remember talking about the situation over dinner with H2 (Husband #2) and a couple of our friends. H2 was Vice Chairman of a major investment banking company, and our companions were a billionaire friend and his wife. Those two men were titans of industry, rarely at a loss for words or for opinions—but they stammered. They didn’t know what to say. They were uncomfortable, and they surely didn’t understand that it was all about power. That if you have someone working for you, you have all the power. You have the power to make sure they never get another job. You have the power to keep them held up in a job holding pattern that rivals Chicago O’Hare at rush hour. And like the rest of the men in the country, they just wanted this whole thing to disappear. They weren’t defending Thomas; they just didn’t want it on the radar, and to be honest, I’m not sure they thought that what he’d done would make him a bad judge. I think a lot of people thought that.

So now there is a movie about the whole drama called Anita, and watching it brought the entire time back, but in a different way than I remembered it. I didn’t see the nuances of it all at the time. I didn’t think about the fact that Kennedy needed to sit silent, as he was having his own female issues at the time. He would surely have spoken up otherwise, right? Joseph Biden was in charge, and he let Thomas turn it into a black white thing when it was nothing of the sort. History will have to hold Biden accountable for not delving deeper into the accusations. He never asked for additional testimony. He never asked Anita about the fact that she had been willing to take a lie detector test.

I marched for Anita in New York. I attended a gathering at Hunter College where she spoke. She was not a mover-shaker speaker. She was cerebral and I wasn’t, so she didn’t call me to do more, and when it was all over, we basically went back to our lives and didn’t let it affect our vote the next time around. Shame on us women. When will we own our power and start to make people accountable?

Why is this movie important? Because it’s our hestory. And our girls need to see it. They need to see what one woman gave up to tell her truth, and while I won’t be so stupid as to say I know she was telling the truth, I know she was telling the truth. Download this film on iTunes and watch it with your daughters. Tell them what you remember of that two-month period. Oh, the times they are a-changing, and watching how it all began will help to ensure that it doesn’t continue.

Oh, and Joe Biden? You just lost my vote even if Hillary doesn’t run.